Feature Article: Why academic planning doesn’t mean perfection in your RTO

One major problem faced by many RTOs is the challenge of achieving perfection in academic planning due to the constant pressure to deliver high-quality, industry-relevant VET courses. 

In VET in Australia it is important to have well-structured and effective training programs that align with industry standards and regulations and meet the needs and expectations of learners. However, striving for perfection in academic planning can have negative impacts on student outcomes and your RTOs efficiency and profitability. Instead, RTO managers should focus on striking the optimal balance between excellence, flexibility, and efficiency. 

In this article, we share some insights and best practices for RTO managers to consider that aims to achieve a balanced approach to academic planning focusing on strategic decision-making, embracing agile programming, and adopting a holistic perspective on quality in training and assessment.

Decision making:

Academic planning involves making decisions and trade-offs based on available resources, time constraints, and compliance with regulatory requirements. This means that it is not always possible to include every aspect or feature that may be desirable or ideal. By striving for perfection, RTO managers may end up overloading their programs with too much content or spending too much time and resources on unnecessary features, which can detract from the overall effectiveness of the training. RTOs should employ strategic prioritisation, concentrating on key learning outcomes and the most impactful program features. A pragmatic approach will enable your RTO to design and deliver VET courses that effectively address students’ needs while maintaining operational efficiency.

Inflexible programming: 

Another impact of striving for perfection in academic planning is that it can lead to a lack of flexibility and adaptability. As the needs and goals of students and the industry landscape change over time, delivery plans may need to be modified or updated in order to remain relevant and effective. By focusing too much on achieving perfection, RTOs may be less willing to make necessary changes and adapt to new circumstances, which can negatively impact student outcomes and business efficiency. Regularly reviewing and updating course materials, incorporating industry feedback, and adapting to changing student demographics are essential for ensuring that your VET courses remain relevant, engaging, and effective. An agile approach to academic planning ensures that RTOs meet customer expectations and maintain a competitive edge.

Quality considerations:

It is important to remember that academic planning is only one part of the equation when it comes to delivering high quality VET courses. Other factors, such as the capability of trainers, quality of learning and assessment materials, the effectiveness of assessment and feedback processes, and the overall student experience, can also have a significant impact on the success of your RTOs training and assessment. By striving for perfection in academic planning at the expense of these other important factors, RTOs risk undermining the overall quality and effectiveness of their training programs.

To enhance the quality of your RTOs VET courses, managers should:

  • Invest in ongoing professional development for trainers and assessors, ensuring their currency remains aligned with industry trends and best practices
  • Implement a robust assessment system that drives continuous improvement and facilitates student-centric outcomes
  • Cultivate an inclusive and supportive learning environment that caters to diverse learning needs and fosters student engagement

Other feature articles:

How to create a holistic self-assurance model for your RTO

An RTO compliance managers guide to leadership

How can compliance and quality functions work together in an RTO?

Who is responsible for quality and compliance in your RTO?

Why you need to focus on your RTOs customers not compliance

How to build a culture of quality in your RTO

Why compliance does not equal quality in your RTO’s training and assessment

How to use systems to manage your RTOs self-assurance effectively